Five students named finalists for National Merit Scholarships

Five West Linn High School students were named National Merit Finalists in the competition sponsored by the nonprofit National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).

by: FILE PHOTO - Five West Linn seniors are National Merit Finalists this year. From left, back row, Hunter Bosson and Logan Spear; front row, Sarah Chung, Priyanka Basak and Michaela Laughlin. Priyanka Basak, Hunter Bosson, Sarah Chung, Michaela Laughlin and Logan Spear were identified as semifinalists in September 2013 based on their performance on the Preliminary SAT, or PSAT test, used as the National Merit qualifying test.

Approximately 16,000 high school students nationwide, or about 1 percent of high school seniors in the country, were honored as semifinalists this year.

To qualify as finalists, each honoree submitted a detailed application, including essays and information about extracurricular achievements, awards and leadership positions. About 15,000 semifinalists complete the application and advance to the final round of selection.

National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from that group of finalists, based on their skills, accomplishments and potential for success in college. Finalists will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit Scholarships, valued at $2,500 and awarded on a state representational basis.

“I think it is really great news that all five who were named as national semifinalist are named finalists,” WLHS Principal Lou Bailey said. “That doesn’t happen all of the time, and it just speaks to the ability and caliber of these five students. I will be very interested to see what comes of this for National Merit Scholars.”

Basak is involved in the science bowl, math club, National Honor Society and Math Honor Society at WLHS. She volunteers at the West Linn Public Library and is interested in pursuing a career in the medical field. She plays on the school’s varsity tennis team.

Bosson is involved in the speech and debate team, Model United Nations, Lobby Club and Science Club at WLHS. He hopes to major in economics and to attend either law or business school after earning his bachelor’s degree.

Chung is the editor-in-chief of the Amplifier, WLHS’s student newspaper. She plays varsity tennis and is a member of the National Honor Society, the Math Society, Link Crew, the Red Cross club and Model United Nations. She hopes to attend medical school.

Laughlin is involved with the Red Cross club, National Honor Society, Math Honor Society and Link Crew at WLHS.

She is an avid dancer and hopes to study mathematics in college.

Speer is a member of National Honor Society, Math Honor Society and Japanese Honor Society. He participates in fencing and FIRST robotics. He is interested in a career as a medical researcher.

NMSC will begin awarding $2,500 national merit scholarships later this month, continuing through May.

For more information on the program, visit

By Kate Hoots
Education reporter
503-636-1281, ext. 112
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